Beautifying all the surfaces of Doors and Buildings at the Garden where I live, work, and learn about sustainable agriculture has been an ongoing project for a number of years. I only came to reside in this magical Garden about five months ago, but there are aging murals of all types that testify to previous generations of Garden helpers who have been intimately involved in this place, and whose artistic souls have been touched as they have collaborated in some way or the other with the Life of the Garden. There are colorful Dragons, Dragonflies, Rabbits, and Goats emblazoned in acrylics across tool sheds, stables, and the garage. A giant Kokopelli also makes his home here, as well as a
New Mexico Sun. The Lady of the Garden, Sharon, has long
envisioned this place as a haven for artists, and although I think of myself as
more of a writer/poet/philosopher than any kind of visual Artist, it was
important to her that I also contribute to the artistic expression of the place
before the West Wind carries me elsewhere.
So she fixed me up with a box of paints and described her vision of a
“Rainbow Cross” across the entrance to the horses’ tack room.
“It is the right project for you,” she said, “because you are both a Rainbow Warrior and a Jesus Freak.”
Indeed I am. These are two designations which I proudly wear. So as I set to work painting her vision, I reflected deeply on what it means to be both a “Warrior of the Rainbow” and a “Warrior of the Cross.”
Warrior of the Rainbow
For those who are unaware of the term “Rainbow Warrior” allow me to introduce its meaning. Ostensibly “Rainbow Warrior” goes back to an 1854 speech by Chief Seattle, a leader among the Native American tribes of the
Chief Seattle foretold that a time would come when the Earth was sick
and the animals were beginning to die. He said that in this time “a new Tribe” would
be born of “all colors and creeds,” whose mission would be to revive amongst
the peoples of Earth a respect for the old ways of living in balance with the
land. He further said that these
people’s faith would be “in actions, not words,” and that because of their
influence on the wider culture Earth would “become green again.” Because these
people would come from “all colors and creeds” they would be known collectively
as the “Warriors of the Rainbow.”
The Rainbow Warrior prophecy was not confined to just what Chief Seattle said, however. It was an organic prophetic movement more than anything else, and it took root in various Tribes of the continent’s First Peoples. In time, the devastations of the American environment did indeed begin to match those prophetic warnings, and some Natives became expectant for the “new Tribe” to appear.
In 1971, a group of activists came together in
to protest the U.S.’s
nuclear testing off the coast of Amchitka Island. Their plan was to put themselves in harm’s
way, peacefully occupying the detonation zone and thereby disrupting plans to
go through with the test. This noble yet
risky move was the birth of the organization known as Greenpeace, and at its birth, Greenpeace was honored by a Tribe of
Native Americans known as the Kwakiutl.
On the third day of their voyage, the crew of Greenpeace’s very first
ship The Phyllis Cormack was invited
ashore by members of the Kwakiutl tribe for a blessing and a declaration of
support for Greenpeace’s mission. In
that blessing ceremony the Kwakiutl tribe awarded Greenpeace with the seal of
one of their totem creatures, the Orca, which represented harmony with Nature,
and which was itself an early indication of Greenpeace’s wider role as a major
part of the fulfillment of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy. One of Greenpeace’s founding members, Bob
Hunter, had very synchronistically also been given a copy of a book called “The
Warriors of the Rainbow” earlier that year.
(crew of the Phyllis Cormack in 1971)
(The Orca Crest given to Greenpeace by the Kwakiutl tribe)
Ironically I had never heard of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy at all, in any context, until August 2011, when I went to work for Greenpeace in
. I found myself working for this organization
as the result of a powerful spiritual journey of my own that had begun in April
2010 and taken me across the continent in search of my Totem. Not only had I found my Totem, the Fox, but I
had discovered a throbbing ache in my heart to live in San Diego, California San Diego and to do something meaningful for
the cause of environmentalism. When I
came to Greenpeace, I discovered to my incredible delight that nearly everyone
else employed there shared this same spiritual sense of “cosmic appointment”
and destiny. Many had moved from far
away, said goodbye to everyone they knew, and unexplainably found themselves
here, amongst people whom they felt they had been searching for their whole
A co-activist was the first to tell me about the Rainbow Warrior prophecy. When I heard about it, it made a lot of things come together in my mind. I understood why I had been drawn there, and I also remembered having written something in my own journals that now proved prophetic: “The battle between Good and Evil is a battle between the No-Color Army of Darkness and the Seven-Color Army of Light. As a Fox, I fight for the side of Red!” Already, without knowing of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy, I had been able to spiritually see that my side of the Cosmic Battle was aligned with some serious “Rainbow Energy.”
As a Christian, I considered what the Rainbow meant to my faith. The Rainbow was a symbol that God gave to Noah which said, “I will never again destroy the Earth.” For that reason it was even more cemented in my mind that Greenpeace, which seeks to save the Earth from destruction, was a rightful exponent of the Rainbow’s truest meaning.
My involvement in the “Rainbow Warrior Tribe” grew to be larger than even my involvement in Greenpeace, however. For family reasons I left Greenpeace in December 2011 and returned to the East Coast. It was a disappointing removal from the family I had made in Greenpeace, itself, but I continued to feel as though I was still gripped by the prophetic destiny of what it meant to be a Rainbow Warrior. And sure enough, in March 2012 I encountered a woman who was also living out the fulfillment of Chief Seattle’s words. Her name was
Sharon and she had a
Garden where she practiced a form of agriculture known as biodynamics, which
sees the Farm as a single Organism, and which teaches that in caring for one
piece of ground in the proper way we are energetically and spiritually helping
to heal the entire Earth. Sharon herself,
in her 60s, had traveled in the “hippie” circles of the 1960s and ‘70s prior to
settling down on her own piece of Eden, had encountered Native American
spirituality, and had not only read the book “The Warriors of the Rainbow” at
about the same time that Bob Hunter had been reading it, but had even put it to
work in her own life by being one of the pioneers of the homesteading/back to
the land/sustainable agriculture/slow food movements. As I slowly surrendered to the idea of being
back on the East Coast for a time, I drew much closer to Sharon and discovered
that she had a lot she could teach me about truly caring for the Earth. In the practice of biodynamics and in my own
meditative approach to working in her Gardens, I felt that I was doing more than
physical eyes could actually see towards healing the Planet.
I took a break from working in
Sharon’s Gardens during
the first week of July 2012 to sniff out yet one more component of what it
meant to be a “Rainbow Warrior.” I
attended what is known as the “Rainbow Gathering,” which has been held every
year since 1972 on National Forest Land within the United States. I first heard about the “Rainbow Gathering”
from a nomadic friend of mine named Abby who attended the Gathering in
2011. She described it to me as a place
for free-thinkers, environmentalists, travelers, hippies, misfits, and
punks. She described it as a place where
complete strangers became family, where everyone lived together communally,
where money was not allowed, and where spirituality took center stage. Of course, it was also a place for nudity and
the use of entheogens – which facts drew negative media attention and a large
police presence. But when I attended the
Gathering in Tennessee
in July 2012, I found that the cops truly didn’t understand the spirit of why
we had all gathered. Yes, the atmosphere
was permissive, and free, but no one upset their neighbors. Everyone got along peacefully and real
connections were easily formed with like-minded people. We lived as organic humans, with no
government or currency to disturb us.
Most of us stayed involved in meditation and prayers for peace the
entire time. My activities at the
Gathering included cooking for large groups of people, attending Tribal Circle
where great things were discussed (such as, for example, whether or not the
Tribe would endorse the Occupy Movement, and we did), wandering from camp to
camp to find meditation circles and philosophical discussions to engage in, and
dancing my legs off to the never-ending beat of the tribal drums. There were laughing children and running
dogs, and in general it was just an atmosphere of perfect peace and freedom,
where people demonstrated that they were moral enough to care for themselves
and live in community without the overbearing presence of rules or laws. Although I have heard some describe the
Rainbow Gathering as an “anarchist” gathering, the negative connotations that
come with that word were at least not seen by me. It was exactly like living in an Indian
Tribe, even down to the way we all congregated when we heard the bugles
sounded, and we honored our elders in the Tribe and heard their proclamations
on how we should live peacefully in these evil Times.
(An image from a Rainbow Gathering)
I believe that we are indeed living in the time of the Rainbow Warriors. I believe that just as Eastern Spirituality hit the “first wave” of the hippie movement in the 1960s, we are now experiencing a “second wave” of the hippie movement and that this time Native American spirituality is directing the course. I wholeheartedly believe that the practices of this “Rainbow Warrior Tribe” are the “return to the old ways” that Chief Seattle spoke about. I believe that young people who seek out their Totems, who have experiences living communally, and who experiment with various forms of prayer and meditation, are discovering the keys which will lead us to a World that is green again.
Warrior of the Cross
I am keenly aware that the term “Christian” is nearly hopelessly mis-defined in our day and age. It means so many things to so many people, and so few of those things reflect the original purpose and mission of Christ. The response of many people especially within my Generation, when presented with the Christian Gospel in its churchified, dogmatic, intolerant, exclusivist or fanatical versions, is to turn up their noses at it and, in many cases, proclaim themselves “atheists.” I find this incredibly sad, because to me there is nothing more uplifting or liberating in all the World than the message of Jesus Christ. I continue to believe -- as true Christians have in all ages -- that Jesus Christ is the hope of the World. I strongly want to embody this belief and make Believers out of Skeptics. I want to be even more strongly a “Warrior of the Cross” than I am a Warrior of the Rainbow. However, to do so in this climate of false teaching and misrepresentation of Christ on the part of Christians, means that I must define my terms.
The first thing that people need to understand about Christianity is that before the establishment of the “Catholic Church” in A.D. 313 through the Council of Nicea, calling yourself a “Christian” meant nothing more than the fact that you were drawn to the personage of Jesus Christ. Everything about what that actually meant to you was up for definition. There was an organic Unity between Christians and an overwhelming Diversity of belief. It is my belief that this Unity within Diversity should have been preserved. Not one of us has the full answer of what Jesus Christ meant to the World; we are every one of us called to “work out our own salvations with fear and trembling” and to become “living epistles” by fellowshipping with Christ on our own terms. As each of us walk with Christ we will be granted Truth – the Bible actually says that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth – and if we speak these Truths to one another we will increase one another’s faith. The Church is there to encourage us in this walk, not so much to tell us everything we should believe. Will there be false impressions received along with the True Word? Absolutely. But Jesus cautioned against removing “the wheat from the tares” too early. Not one of us can say with absolute certainty that all the matters of faith are decided and that there is no room for a fresh perspective: the counsel of Gamaliel, as recorded in Acts 5:38-39, should be the Christian attitude towards any new teaching. “If this is the work of men, it will come to naught: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” The First Christians did not have a leather-bound Bible complete with 66 books, and did not share the faith of many in our modern denominations that a “church council” could decide what was Scripture for them and what was not. For them, living in the Spirit was the standard, trying the spirits was the method… and miracles followed.
I believe that Christianity was originally not meant to be a religion, but a revolution. Jesus came to the Jews first, and the Jews had their own religion. When Jews became Christians, they did not stop being Jews. They continued to observe the traditions of their faith, including going to the
or, after its destruction in A.D. 70, the synagogue. They continued to observe Jewish dietary
customs and other cultural norms that non-Jewish Christians did not
observe. This became a prickly issue
during Christianity’s first century: a group known as the “Judaizers” were
Jewish Christians who wanted the non-Jewish Christians to begin behaving more
Jewishly. The Apostles, however, spoke
out against this notion and proclaimed the liberty of Christ. The message of Christianity was not that we
needed a new religion or a new code of ethics or behaviors: the message of
Christianity was that what the World had longed for when its religions had been
formed was now complete in the coming of Christ.
Significantly, when the Apostle Paul preached to Greeks in the city of
Athens, atop Mars Hill surrounded by all
their gods, he did not quote Hebrew Scriptures to them. He quoted Greek philosophers and poets. Jesus was the “New Testament” not only of the
Jewish Old Testament, but also of the Greek “Old Testament.” Paul did not seek to reform the culture of
the Greeks anymore than he had sought to reform the culture of the Jews. Jesus was not about cultures but about
individuals. Jesus was a “fulfillment”
of the laws that had governed man. He
was not the destruction of those laws.
I believe in a Universal Jesus. I believe that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Hebrews but He also fulfilled the prophecies of the Native Americans. Accordingly, I believe that Jesus has a role to fill even in the Rainbow Warrior prophecy: I believe He is a fulfillment to that, too. I believe that the customs of the Native Americans are as appropriate to Native American Christians as the customs of the Jews are appropriate to Jewish Christians. The stories of Quetzalcoatl, for example, I believe can be seen to foreshadow the message of Christ. Modern Christians have repeated the error of the “Judaizers” when they have tried to convert members of other religions away from their own cultural understandings of the World. Before we can talk about what Jesus signifies, we must get this clear: Jesus built His Church on nothing more than the declaration that He was the Son of God.
So now that I have (hopefully) stripped away all the Christian legalism which masquerades as the Gospel of Christ, what is it that I mean by the term “Warrior of the Cross”?
Principally, I believe that Jesus came to set Mankind free.
What the Bible essentially teaches is that God placed Man in a Garden, a beautiful Utopian nudist Paradise with talking Animals and an intelligent Natural World to interact with, one where everything was lush and pure, clean and organic, unpolluted, spotless, holy, wonderful. It was a place of pure Delights, and they had only to respect it by following this Sevenfold Mandate:
1. Be Fruitful!
3. Replenish the Earth!
4. Subdue it! (See every corner of it!)
5. Have Responsibility for the Fish of the Sea!
6. Have Responsibility for the Birds of the Air!
7. Have Responsibility for the Beasts of the Earth!
And then He added that they must not take the Fruit from every Tree. One
alone should be conserved: it was not for Man, it was Holy and Off-Limits. It was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Taking that one first thing that was not ours did indeed make us aware of our own lusts and desires. Just as in Buddhism, in Christianity the fact that we desire to obtain and have things, or control situations, or people, is itself the source of our suffering. We suffer because of our many wants and dependencies. We are disconnected from Nature due to this handicap. For example we wear clothing when no other member of the Animal Kingdom seems to require it. The lilies of the Field do not toil or spin and yet they have no want. Our Society burdens us with a thousand considerations that Animals never had, and indeed that Adam and Eve never had. There are Laws to obey, Cultural Mores, Taboos: in the Garden there was only the instruction not to eat of One Tree.
When Man ventured first from his Garden existence into a World where Nature no longer consented to give its selfish Child such pleasures, Man lost his way. He forgot how to live in the World. Alone from Nature and Nature’s God, alone with his wants, God left Man to figure it out. Moses, the Lawgiver, provided the Hebrews a Way, for a Time. And in other lands and places other Lawgivers were also inspired at this Time to give instructions on how to live in the World. And people followed these Laws, and Governments were formed, and Religions were formed, and yet Man still had no ability to Live Righteously in the World.
The solution to the problem from the get-go was for Man to live in simple obedience to the Way of his Species, as every other creature does. A Fox does not disobey his genetic instructions. A Fox does exactly what Foxes are born to do, namely, hunting fields and meadows, providing for his kits and his vixen, never taking more than his fill. The Way of Man’s species is to Be Fruitful, Multiply, Replenish, Subdue, Have Responsibility. This is really what is required of us. Nature’s Law is the only Law we originally had to follow.
God wished to rescue Man from his too many Laws, and return him to the simpler Way. Everyone was looking for the Way, so He sent Jesus. Jesus was a simple, loving, meek and happy soul, with deep wisdom, but with deep Love and deep appreciation for others. He showed through His Words, Teachings, and Miracles how to live, and he commissioned disciples, and those disciples began to live in community and slowly spread through the World. Jesus and his disciples lived “Above the Law, yet Under Grace.”
The phrase “Above the Law, yet Under Grace” relates to the way God dealt with Man’s too many Laws. God could have simply used Jesus to overthrow the Law, to revolt against Society, to take Man backward through his 4000 years of “civilization” up to that point and back to square one, in Nature, in the Garden. But He did not. Instead, He had mercy on the Law and on the things that Man had created. He did not overthrow the Law but he “fulfilled it.” He allowed it to run its Natural course, and be satisfied, and cease to roar against the Accused. Jesus did two things: 1.) He made an atoning Sacrifice which forever ended the claims of the Law on us that we are “sinners,” and 2.) He taught us by His Character what it would mean to be Above the Law. He showed kindness, gentleness, compassion…. He was so much softer than His times. He said He was the Living Water, the Universal Solvent. And when His followers transition or shift their mindsets to the mind of Christ which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, understanding, kindness, tenderness, meekness… when they do that they make the Law and the Government irrelevant. Living according to Our Original Human Natures, which are restored to us in the Example and Fellowship of Christ, are so peaceable that no government need ever tell them what to do. The Law was made for sinful man, but Jesus makes us no longer sinful. A follower of Christ will always do what is truly right no matter what the context, and he does not need your “rules.” We are returned to the Garden experience, the Animal Estate, the Way things were Before, and Always. Flowers have not ceased to Believe or to dote every moment on the Life Force that they every moment, feel. Oh, it is blissful to be a Flower! It can also be that blissful to be a Man, if we will, like the Flowers, simply follow the Law of Our Species. We will need no other Law when our hearts are properly absorbed in the Worship of the Source of Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering… and all the Fruits of the Spirit. We can be trusted to behave ourselves… We are again good.
Order of the Rainbow Cross
One can see that being a Christian who is also a Rainbow Warrior brings much advantage. I believe the idea that we can be “Above the Law” is unique to Christianity. This philosophy provides the key to how we can successfully transition back to our original human lifestyle, of living organically and without government or law, in accord with Nature. By inner transformation we transform society itself. We make it slowly irrelevant. We allow it to break against us, we judge the Law itself, it goes extinct. The state withers away.
Perhaps these are hopelessly Utopian ideals, but I believe the ideals are pure. And so when I think of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy and reflect that it includes “all creeds,” and I weigh my own Christian creed within it, I smile to myself, because I believe I am following the Original Revolutionary of Non-Violence, Jesus Christ, who sought to return us to the Garden Experience. Through whose Eyes I see Life on Earth not as a sentence in hell as a subject of worldly tyrants, but as an opportunity for blessing as I reign in the Kingdom of God – a redeemed Eden, myself a renewed Adam – a “king and a priest” of my God.
I reject the World-ending rubbish recited by apocalyptic fanatical Christians who do not understand the spirit behind their own faith. I believe I am meant to show by my good life “a gentleness born of wisdom” which seeks to honor the Edenic mandate and “replenish the Earth.” If it is the mission of Rainbow Warriors to heal the Earth, I throw in my lot with those Warriors, all the more so because I serve the ultimate Healer. His Energy unleashed in my life may indeed be dedicated to this noble end of liberating the Planet from human fallenness. I am a citizen of the New Earth that is already yearning to be born, a place where Lions and Lambs will lie down together and all the kingdoms of Earth have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.
And so I coin the phrase “Order of the Rainbow Cross” to invite anyone else to also use, who agrees that the followers of Jesus may be the Saviors of all things Green and Growing.
A calling, a mission, a lifestyle – to seek and save that which is lost.